Crewe railway station, 1962 (Ben Brooksbank)

Crewe Brass: Sunday Brass at the Boarshurst Band Club, 21 April 2019

Matt Pithers’ promising Boarshurst debut sees satisfying programme

Crewe is very much a child of railway mania. The Victorian times saw the once pastoral part of Cheshire become a hub for inter-city trains to most parts of the United Kingdom. Though Birmingham New Street has stolen its thunder in terms of passenger traffic, Crewe station remains an important railway centre.

From the railways came brass bands, but Crewe Brass is one of Britain’s youngest bands. They were formed in 1989 as South Cheshire Young Brass. Following sponsorship by the United Norwest Cooperative Society, they became a fully fledged band accommodating players from 15 to (if they’ve got the puff left) 150. Today, as Crewe Brass, they are a First Section band. At Boarshurst Band Club last night, a pretty decent one.

Continue reading “Crewe Brass: Sunday Brass at the Boarshurst Band Club, 21 April 2019”

Greater Manchester Set to Lose Another 17 Trains

Anger as bankers move electric trains to the West Midlands

Class 323 EMU, Manchester Piccadilly station
The Class 323s first arrived in Greater Manchester in 1996, originally for services to and from Manchester Airport. Following issues with Railtrack’s Safety Case, the Hunslet TPL built units’ introduction was delayed by two years. They first appeared on the Hadfield line in November 1997, replacing slam-door Class 305s.

Almost a year after the DfT’s imposition of an evening peak for Greater Manchester’s rail users comes another body blow. Porterbrook Leasing, who owns most of Britain’s trains has refused to offer 17 Class 323 electric trains to Northern Rail’s successors in 2016.

Instead, the rolling stock leasing company (owned by Alberta Investment Management Corporation, Allianz Capital Partners, EDF Invest and Hastings Fund Management) has decided to move them to the West Midlands. At present, the Centro West Midlands boundary sees a number of local services utilising Class 323, and the move allows for greater standardisation. The reason, to reduce maintenance costs. Continue reading “Greater Manchester Set to Lose Another 17 Trains”